A bantamweight match-up between Takeya Mizugaki (15-6-2) and Chris Cariaso (12-3) has been targeted for the card of UFC 144, according to reports from MMA Weekly. UFC officials have yet to confirm the bout.
Mizugaki, a top-10 ranked Japanese striker known as "The Intelligent Sniper", makes his return to the cage after earning a TKO win over former WEC champion Cole Escovedo at UFC 135. Since leaving Japan for the bright lights of the WEC -- and eventually the UFC -- the 27-year-old has rotated wins and losses, collecting a hard-fought 4-4 record against the likes of Brian Bowles, Urijah Faber, Miguel Torres, and Scott Jorgensen.
Meanwhile, Cariaso, a fellow WEC veteran, hopes to continue the momentum built by a razor-thin split-decision loss to uber-prospect Michael McDonald and a win over Vaughan Lee at UFC 138. Prior to his recent 2-2 run, "Kamikaze" tasted victory in ten of his first eleven bouts.
UFC 144 is scheduled for February 26th, 2012 at the Saitama Super Arena in Saitama, Japan. Former WEC lightweight champion Ben Henderson challenges UFC lightweight king Frankie Edgar in the night's main event.
UFC 144 fight card:
Lightweight Championship: Ben Henderson vs. Frankie Edgar
Featherweight: Hastu Hioki vs. Bart Palaszewski
Lightweight: Anthony Pettis vs. Joe Lauzon
Welterweight: Yoshihiro Akiyama vs. Jake Shields
Middleweight: Yushin Okami vs. Tim Boetsch
Heavyweight: Cheick Kongo vs. Mark Hunt
Bantamweight: Takeya Mizugaki vs. Chris Cariaso